What was in Peter’s apocalyptic book? Why wasn’t Peter’s apocalyptic book put into the Bible? Why only John’s (Revelation)?

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What was in Peter’s apocalyptic book? Why wasn’t Peter’s apocalyptic book put into the Bible? Why only John’s (Revelation)?

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:35 am

The Apocalypse of Peter is a book written sometime during the second century AD. Obviously it was written by someone other than Peter as Peter died in the mid- to late-60s AD, put to death by the authorities in Rome. It was discovered in an archaeological dig in Egypt in 1886-87 in the grave of a Christian monk. Prior to this, it was only known through references in other writings. Its most prominent mention was in an ancient document called the Muratorian Fragment which, while the earliest listing of books which should be listed in the biblical canon, ironically listed this particular book as one that should no longer be read in the churches.
The story of this book is that Peter received its contents in the form of a nekyia—a vision provided by a ghost. It purports to tell of a post-resurrection discourse that Jesus held with His disciples, giving them information both about heaven and hell. According to what Jesus says in this book, heaven will be a place where all the saints will have “pure milky white skin, curly hair,” and will pretty much all be beautiful. It is in its description of hell that Jesus gets most specific, for He details specific punishments for specific crimes:
Blasphemers are hanged by the tongue.
Women who "adorn" themselves for the purpose of adultery, are hung by the hair over a bubbling mire. The men who had adulterous relationships with them are hung by their feet, with their heads in the mire, next to them.
Murderers and those who give consent to murder are set in a pit of creeping things that torment them.
Men who take on the role of women in a sexual way, and lesbians, are "driven" up a great cliff by punishing angels, and are "cast off" to the bottom. Then they are forced up it, over and over again, ceaselessly, to their doom.
Women who have abortions are set in a lake formed from the blood and gore from all the other punishments, up to their necks. They are also tormented by the spirits of their unborn children, who shoot a "flash of fire" into their eyes. (Those unborn children are "delivered to a care-taking" angel by whom they are educated, and "made to grow up.")
Those who lend money and demand "usury upon usury" stand up to their knees in a lake of foul matter and blood.
This is grossly unbiblical. The Bible makes two things clear: (1) all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God—Paul, Romans 3:23, and (2) For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it—James 2:10. People will wind up in hell for both being lawbreakers—failing to measure up to God’s perfect standard—and rejecting the remedy He so graciously provided in His Son, Jesus Christ. And people will not be in hell for breaking one law but rather for living lives that broke ALL law. While hell may be specific to the individual, it will be addressing a lifetime of rebellion—not any one specific sin.
As this book continues, there is also a section which explains that in the end God will save all sinners from their plight in Hell; Jesus supposedly says, "My Father will give unto them all the life, the glory, and the kingdom that passeth not away . . . . It is because of them that have believed in me that I am come. It is also because of them that have believed in me, that, at their word, I shall have pity on men... " Thus, sinners will finally be saved by the prayers of those in heaven. Peter then orders his son Clement not to speak of this revelation since God had told Peter to keep it secret: [and God said]"... thou must not tell that which thou hearest unto the sinners lest they transgress the more, and sin."
One of the principles for including something in Scripture is: Does it align with the rest of Scripture? Clearly, the Apocalypse of Peter does not. Nowhere—not in Jesus’ words in the gospels, not in Revelation—does the Bible detail hell. Only heaven gets some detail, and that is minimal. One thing is clear though: Those who choose to reject God and His Son Jesus Christ are destined for a hell from which there is no escape. As John wrote in Revelation, And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and everyone was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire—Revelation 20:10-15. As John wrote earlier in Revelation concerning those who receive the “mark of the Beast” and worship him, A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If any worship the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name”—Revelation 14:9-11. What both passages make extremely clear is that eternity is eternity for both the occupants of heaven and hell. There is no rescue for those who have lived their lives in rebellion against God.
Another way of seeing if something aligns with Scripture is, Is the tone of the material consistent with how the rest of Scripture presents itself? In other words, is the picture of God presented in a questionable document consistent with how God is presented in Biblical documentation? The God of the Bible is pictured as being profoundly majestic in His love for us. As He said to the prophet Jeremiah, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness—God speaking, Jeremiah 31:3. As the Israelites celebrated followed their deliverance by God from the Egyptians at the Red Sea, In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling—Exodus 15:13. And of course, one measure of God’s love for us is how He approaches our sinfulness. As He said through the prophet Ezekiel, Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’—God speaking, Ezekiel 33:11. And that attitude was reflected in the words of King Hezekiah, who celebrated, In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back—Isaiah 38:17b. And, of course, the greatest comment on God’s desire for relationship versus rebellion is found in Jesus Christ. As Paul said so well, The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen—Paul, I Timothy 1:14-17. Ultimately, as God said through the prophet Malachi, I the Lord do not change—God speaking, Malachi 3:6a. All that He is is consistently portrayed and presented throughout the length and breadth of Scripture. He never gave “secret” information, and He never acted contrary to His word. John’s Revelation mirrors a picture of God consistently found through the rest of Scripture that this document does not even minimally present. And that reflects “gnostic” literature generally: It portrayed the world as wicked, the god who created it as also wicked, salvation as being rescue from that world, and that rescue being engineered by some secret wisdom that only the favored had, leading to the idea that mankind’s rescue from this wicked world was actually within the capabilities of man himself. Again, that idea is completely contrary to Scripture. In conclusion, this document is simply false teaching that can rightly be ignored.

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